15 “If you love me, you will keep my commandments. 16 And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, 17 even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him. You know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you. – John 14:15-17
Christians have been known throughout the centuries as “Christ Followers” or simply “Followers of Jesus.” The common interpretation has been that we follow the ways and teaching of Jesus, which of course is true. We learn His word and study His ways, doing our best to represent Him well.
However the gospels paint a different picture of following Jesus. When Jesus called someone to follow Him it quite literally meant follow…
…Like right now.
The idea was… “Stop what you’re doing, come and follow me.”
This was not an easy call.
Jesus never gave His followers the month’s schedule or presented a detailed itinerary. In fact, they often misunderstood His true plan or purpose until well after something had occurred. He rarely asked their opinion on the plan, and He never took votes. He would simply lead and they were expected to follow.
For those of us who like to be in control, this is kind of a scary thought! Can you imagine Jesus being with us 24/7 and us simply being expected to follow? No…many of us prefer to think of our faith as though Jesus left us a map to follow as we see fit.
Part of me loves the map! I get to choose how I go, what pace I take, which stops are essential, etc. With the map, I get to retain a fair amount of control over my daily affairs. There’s just one problem…
Jesus didn’t leave us a map.
He left us a guide.
In John’s gospel, chapter 14, Jesus promised that His followers wouldn’t be alone because He would send the Spirit of truth to be with us and in us! That means the very Spirit and presence of Jesus is with us 24/7, and that we are expected to follow His leadership, daily, just like His first followers! The good news is, not only is He there to lead us, but He is also there to empower us! His Spirit will supernaturally enable us to accomplish whatever He calls us to do, as we follow Him!
I never had a map that could do that!
Following Jesus is not easy, but it is actually fairly simple: listen for His voice (through His word and prayer) and do what He says. That’s when the power of God becomes real!
Once you’ve followed His voice and seen His power, you’ll never go back to the map!